John Constantine’s mission to save little Astra from damnation was left unfulfilled at the untimely cancellation of NBC’s Constantine in 2015. Finally, in the chain-smoking sorcerer’s return in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine reveals that his mission was finished. Unfortunately, Constantine failed.
In “Daddy Darhkest,” Constantine (reprised by Matt Ryan) seeks the help of the Legends when the demon Mallus, whom he’s trying to exorcise out of a teenaged girl, whispers Sara Lance’s name. The big twist is that the girl is a younger version of Damien Darhk’s daughter, Nora Darhk, who has become this season’s big bad since the mid-season finale.
But even if there’s poetic symmetry in Constantine seeking redemption to make up for Astra in trying to save Nora — even when she’s the daughter of everyone’s undying enemy — Nora is of little consequence. The most important thing fans should know is 1) Constantine’s guest episode has him in far better form than “Haunted,” his Arrow episode, and 2) Constantine in the Arrowverse is definitively the Constantine fans fell in love with almost four years ago.
When Constantine appeared in Arrow in the fall of 2015, the show spent so little time with its guest star that Matt Ryan didn’t have time to drop hints or updates on what ol’ J.C. had been up to. What happened to the Rising Darkness? Were the Brujeria still after him? Where the bloody hell are Chas and Zed? Most importantly, what became of Astra?
None of those questions were answered. Constantine was in Star City to resurrect Sara, and that was it. He was gone before you could say “Sex Pistols.” So it was plausible enough to believe that it wasn’t the same John Constantine from the beloved NBC series at all, but maybe an alternate Earth version played by the same actor.
At last, Legends of Tomorrow confirms that isn’t the case. In confiding with Sara, Constantine tells her he “failed” Astra, and had damned both their souls to hell. While Astra is in the company of demons, Constantine roams the Earth a damned man. Thankfully, it comes in handy when Constantine conjures a spell to help save the day.
Also fun with Constantine’s Legends episode is that Constantine got to be far more promiscuous, and more of a smoker, than he was in all 13 episodes of his show. No matter how well Ryan filled in the coat, it was always awkward he didn’t puff cigs or lay with whatever walked in front of him. Finally, Legends makes up for lost time, with a Marlboro basically sewn to his lip and Constantine hitting on a delightful Wentworth Miller. And yes, Constantine and Sara finally hook up, a one night stand almost three years in the making.
“Daddy Dahrkest” also turns out to be a pretty big episode, even if all of its new developments feel rushed towards the end. Earth-X Snart leaves without much fanfare, Nora fulfills her destiny as some kind of demonic acolyte with her father (How has McDonough and Ryan been on two different shows twice and not share a scene yet?), and Constantine warns Ray Palmer, of all people, that a demon awaits within Sara. And that when — not if — when the demon takes over, Ray’s new invention, an “anti-magic gun,” will come in handy.
With one last “sweetheart” to Gideon, John Constantine again has left the Arrowverse. Here’s hoping his third appearance will be something more permanent.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.